The Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) has announced the 2011 Player of the Year recipients. The winners include Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho in the Men’s category; Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash. received the Women’s award; Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. received the Senior Men’s award; Terri Frohnmayer of Salem, Ore. received the Senior Women’s award; Kevin Kwon of Pitt Meadows, BC received the Junior Boys’ award; and Jisoo Keel of Coquitlam, BC received the Junior Girls’ award.
For Chris Williams, 2011 was a historic year that included national and international recognition. In June, Williams earned U.S. Open qualifying medalist honors at Gold Mountain Golf Club. His stellar play would lead to his selection to play for the U.S. Team at the Palmer Cup where his undefeated record helped the U.S. beat the European Team at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn. Williams would also win a pair of major amateur championships with back to back victories at the 18th Sahalee Players Championship and the 45th Pacific Coast Amateur in July, and he would shoot a 16-under par, 268 to earn medalist honors at the 109th Western Amateur, where he ended up finishing as a quarterfinalist. Williams’ outstanding summer culminated in August with his selection to the prestigious Walker Cup Team, where his record of 2-1-0 was one of the shining performances on the U.S. squad that came up short against the Great Britain and Ireland Team at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland.
Erynne Lee, now 18 years old, has been awarded her second Women’s Player of the Year honor. Lee’s accomplishments on the state and national level have been nothing short of incredible. In June, Lee won the Washington State Women’s Amateur by defeating her little sister Katie Lee by two strokes with a 54-hole total of 3-under par, 213. The most notable performance of Lee’s season came just weeks later at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Rhode Island Country Club where she would make the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Also, in the past year Lee has played in the U.S. Women’s Open, was the Washington State 4A Champion, and participated in Canadian Women’s Tour events at Beloeil, Blue Springs and Squamish Valley.
Tom Brandes had an inspiring year winning his first Senior Men’s Player of the Year honor. After qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open in each of the past two years, 2011 was a year of firsts for Brandes. He started by winning the Senior Washington Open title at The Cedars at Dungeness, in Sequim, Wash. in June, and then qualified for the USGA Senior Amateur Championship in his first attempt. Finally, Brandes capped off his memorable season by winning the Washington State Senior Men’s Amateur Championship at Bellingham Golf and Country Club in September.
Terri Frohnmayer had a year to remember with an awe-inspiring victory at the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn. Frohnmayer defeated defending champion, Mina Hardin of Fort Worth, Texas 2 and 1 in the final match for her first national title. Frohnmayer was playing in just her third national championship. She lost to Betsy King in the second round of the 1973 U.S. Girls’ Junior and was a member of the Rollins College team that played in the 1978 National Women’s Collegiate Championship. Frohnmayer finished her remarkable year with a runner-up finish at the Pacific Northwest Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Victoria Golf Club where she was the defending champion.
Kevin Kwon, an 11th grader at Maple Ridge Secondary in Maple Ridge, BC, blossomed in 2011 capturing the Canadian Junior Boys’ Championship by 11 shots in conjunction with the Canadian Junior Boys’ Juvenile Championship title as well. Kwon also recorded a pair of runner-up finishes at the BC Junior Boys’ Championship and the Canadian National Future Links Pacific Championship, as well as a 4th place finish at the Western Canada Summer Games.
Jisoo Keel, a member of the Canadian National Developmental Team, had a memorable 2011 that included wins at the Canadian National Future Links Pacific Championship and the Canadian Junior Girls’ Championship, Juvenile Division. Keel also notched a pair of runner-up finishes at the Canadian Junior Girls’ Championship and the BC Junior Girls’ Championship. A 3rd place finish at the Canadian Women’s Tour event at Squamish Valley, BC, where she was the low amateur, and her Round of 16 finish at the U.S. Junior Girls’ Championship highlighted an outstanding year for Keel. For her extraordinary play, Keel was awarded the Top Amateur of the Year Award on the Canadian Women’s Tour.
The PNGA Player of the Year candidates are nominated by the various state and provincial golf associations that comprise the PNGA (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), and are selected by a vote of the PNGA Championship Committee and members of the Northwest Golf Media Association. Awards are annually given in the six different categories: Men’s, Women’s, Senior Men’s, Senior Women’s, Junior Boys’, and Junior Girls’. The awards are officially presented at the PNGA Annual Meeting in the spring.